Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What would you grab from your house in an evacuation?

All those silly "get you know you" questions may actually come in handy! You know the ones they ask in grade school. If you were on deserted island and could have five things, what would you bring? If you could only read one book for the rest of you life, what book would you pick?

Living in southern California comes with wildfires and the occasional earthquake. But fires are most common where we live. We've had our share of fires in a nearby training area and are usually little cause for concern. The base fire department gets a lot of practice and usually handles the fires quickly. This weekend was the first fire that has actually affected us. It was a normal lazy Saturday morning. I was resting on the couch while my husband made peach cobbler in the kitchen. I kept hearing this muffled talking and couldn't figure out what it was. We have an emergency alert intercom system on base (which seems to be tested weekly) but it wasn't that. I finally opened our front door to be greeted with PMO on our street with bull horns and plume of smoke on the horizon!
View from the garage

So what would you grab? I was amazed at how fast we moved! I threw on real clothes since I was in pajamas still. Of course my shirt got put on backwards... There will little communicated about what needed to be grabbed. Within a few minutes the Jeep was packed up and we ended up with:

  • Our dog
  • Our cat and his litter box
  • Wedding rings
  • File box with birth certificates and such
  • External hard drive that has all of our photos
  • My laptop
  • Camera
  • A toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Wallet and purse

Some of the stuff makes perfect sense, some doesn't. I mean I can always buy a new toothbrush! But overall it was smooth. Thankfully, our gracious friends hosted us and our wild animals for two days. Sunday night we were allowed back into the neighborhood and the only lasting effect was a lingering camp fire smell.


The fire came all the way up to the neighborhood's fire breaks. Thankfully, no houses had any severe damage. Some flame retardant mess and some singed backyards were the worst of it. I know it could have been much worse without our amazing fire department and neighboring fire departments who came to help! The fire is almost completely contained and has burned roughly 2,236 acres.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Grand Canyon Trip... that never was.

Life doesn't always go your way. No matter how well prepared your plans are, life will foil one or two along the road.
These were the lessons relearned this past week. For weeks we planned our road trip to the Grand Canyon. Made lists, did research. We even did a dry run and camped at a local campsite since it was our dog's first camping trip. The day came. The car was packed up and ready to go.
Then.. life. Disaster struck about a third of the way into the trip. Our poor Jeep was no match for the elevation gain and astounding heat. Between our home and the Grand Canyon lays a 6,900 feet elevation gain and the ominous Mojave Desert. Literally the hottest place in the United States. Surrounded by miles and miles of nothing. The Mojave Desert took victory over our trip (and apparently many others judging by the heavy littering of over heated cars on the highway). We accepted defeat and turned around towards home.
As awful as the whole experience was.. we made it through together. If I were to be stranded in a desert furnace, at least it was with my husband.
And then there is Asher. The only one that I think had any fun that day :) He got to experience new smells. During an attempt to cool off at a pet store, he got spoiled with new toys. Though even Asher was cranky and exhausted by the time we got home.

Stay tuned for Grand Canyon trip: Attempt Two!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ever since I ran the Camp Pendleton Mud Run I have been meaning to write up a post about our experience. There is a time and place for spontaneity.. but when I signed up for the 10k I did not have spontaneity in mind. Despite the mud run being over a decade old, there were little details past the basic event information. I like to be prepared. And to add to the uncertainty, the obstacles are tweaked yearly to keep runners guessing.
Considering this will be our last summer living aboard Camp Pendleton, it was now or never. I signed myself and my husband up for the 2013 Camp Pendleton Mud Run! Our first snag came pretty quickly. In keeping with Marine Corps tradition, my husband's unit decided to send them to 29 Palms for a month landing us an issue with our committed run date. The CP Mud Run is scheduled in June and runs through three weekends. Saturday and Sunday for the first two weekends and just Saturday the last weekend. I was able to go to their website and change our run date from a previous weekend to the last day of the run. Crisis averted and my husband would return from the desert just in time to run a 10k with me. Did I mention how much of a trooper he is? It was a pretty simple process and while there was a fee to change the dates, it was worth it.
Before - clean as a whistle!
The day of the race we woke up at what seemed like the crack of dawn to head to Lake O'Neill. Luckily for us the lake is almost within sight of our house. I cannot speak to the parking situation because we avoided that all together and walked ourselves to the race. Walking to a 10k might sound crazy but it worked well for us. There was plenty of entertainment to rest before and after the run.

We arrived in plenty of time to check our bag, have last minute potty breaks and our wave was off! The first part of the run was relatively dry - besides being sprayed down by the fire hoses. The bulk of the obstacles were kept till the last three quarters of the run. There were no obstacles during the run that weren't doable. While there certainly are those who run this race for time and competition, there is a lot of focus on just having fun. It is a mud run!
None of the obstacles were meant to be near impossible. There were runners from a wide range of ages, all shapes and sizes, all degrees of speed. So when met with the walls, you are also met by the Marine Corps' beloved corpsman. These guys spent countless hours kneeling in chest deep mud to give a boost to those needing help over the walls. It's safe to say that if you needed help over a wall, you got help. And I am thankful for it! I underestimated the weight of mud. Jumping to hoist yourself over a wall did not seem that unreasonable. Covered and wading through mud puddles (mud lakes!) made the jump much more difficult. A note to something I did read and witness - taping your shoes. It seemed like a common practice to tape your shoes to prevent them from coming off. To me it was totally a waste. Tape gets wet, it gets ripped off. I did have one of my shoes come off it a mud pit. Lift those feet in the mud! But it's unavoidable. You either tie your shoes normally and risk a shoe coming off. Or you tie your shoes on tighter and have painfully bound mud logged shoes to run in. No one is moving lightening speed through the mud. If your shoe pops off, move off to the sideline and stick it back on.
Once at the finish line you are free to enjoy the party part of the mud run. There are showers in the "hog wash" area, complete with Marines encouraging people along. A nifty place to donate your muddy shoes. All donated shoes were washed and shipped overseas. Changing tents. Live music. Food. Drinks. Military vehicles to tour. Their bag check was not detailed on their website (other than a bag check did exist). So I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. We were able to bring a backpack that included towels, a change of clothes, and a blanket to spread out on the lawn. The number from your bib is attached to the bag so they can easily tell who's bag belongs to whom. After the race we rinsed off, changed in the tents, spread our blanket out in front of the show and enjoyed some much deserved food and margaritas!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oh you know... just a nine month break from the blogging world.
Seems fitting my last post was on the newest member to our family, Asher. Then a small puppy. Unable to climb a single stair, puppy hiccups, little pink tummy and all.
Now.. almost a year old!

Such a big difference the past nine months have made! While we still have a puppy, a rather large puppy at that, he is on his way to full grown dog. Asher has provided a lot joy during 2013. We were also blessed enough to be able to visit Ga for Christmas, bring in the new years together, spend our four year anniversary together, run the Camp Pendleton Mud Run and so much more! 2013 will also be bringing us literally more than we know. In traditional Marine Corps fashion, we will be moving.. at some point in time.. to some place in the world. Where and when, unknown. On the recent horizon we have a road trip in the works, a re-enlistment, a summer of fun, and impending school semesters! More to come, in a period of time less than nine months :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome our new addition to the family, Asher!

He is such a sweet addition. Asher, which means happy and blessed in Hebrew, joined our family this week from Coastal German Shepherd Rescue. He is about nine weeks old and ten pounds of pure cuteness! After years of wanting a German Shepherd, my husband is smitten with him. I wish I could say the same about our cat, Luke. They are slowly adjusting to each other. They get along most at nap time!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Sur Sunset

Back from vacation. I've been tirelessly looking through photos! We took so many! We just spent a wonderful week driving up the coast of California, through Big Sur, up to Montery, Gilroy, Pebble Beach, San Francisco, and Muir Woods. It was wonderful! A much needed vacation.
The drive through Big Sur was breathtaking. The drive follows the 101 Pacific Coast Highway. Taking the extra time to stray from the heavily traveled Highway 5 is very much worth the added hours! The long two lane winding road along coastline of central California is amazing. The mountains come right up to the edge of the coast and plummet down to the ocean. At most points the clouds are below you and it makes you feel like you're in the sky. Everything feels so quiet.

Gilroy, Ca

We stayed in Gilroy, Ca for a few nights. It's the sweetest little town outside of Montery and the garlic capital of the world! We bought some delicious garlic infused olive oil and pesto. There was garlic as far as the eye could see. And the air did have a distinct garlic aroma.

Our next stop was the Laguna Seca Raceway for the Rolex Reunion Race. It's held at an equally beautiful location. It was a day filled with car watching and a very excited husband!

After the race and the Pebble Beach car show we made our way up to San Francisco to see the sites!


Coit Tower
San Francisco view from the Coit Tower
Visiting Muir Woods was an amazing experience. The Redwoods were just extraordinary. It was so quiet and peaceful. So majestic. It felt like you were walking through a sanctuary of trees that was hundred and hundreds of years in the making. Muir Woods was hands down one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Me with a Redwood
Muir Woods

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What I'm loving this Wednesday....

Leave!!!! I am thrilled that my husband is taking a week off work! Vacation is the best! We are taking a much needed break to have fun together.

Our home. We've been working on our house for about a week straight. It's so much work getting our home organized and clean. Even after being married for a few years we were still lacking a lot of furniture. Without furniture to store things in our house was a mess! There is literally only one box left to be unpacked and I have a feeling most of it will go to Goodwill.

Christmas! I know it's still summer but for us it seems like Christmas is right around the corner. I have already started a gift list and the MCX already has tree ornaments out! It will be the first time in two years that we will really get to celebrate Christmas.

New glasses. My new glasses should be showing up in the mail today! Not only is it fun to get new glasses but I got a great deal on them so I can't wait to see what they look like.

Our garden. Gardening in California is drastically different than on the east coast, but I think we are finally getting the hang of it. I swear the sun kills stuff here. Southern California is basically a desert that is watered tremendously! Plants tags that say "full sun" required are usually perfect in full sun on the east coast. Here nothing will grow in full sun! Everything needs lots of shade.

Baby clothes! Soon I will have a new niece in the world! More than anything I wish I could be there to help welcome her but unfortunately that isn't an option. Right now I'm settling by buying the cutest baby clothes. As an aunt it's my job to spoil her :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What now?
Oddly, it seems we've reach a point in our marriage where there is little preparation! That sounds odd but I will explain. When we first got married, we were a month out from moving to a different state. Then after moving was finished we prepared to move again in about seven months. Then six months after our second move we hit our first deployment. So on and so fourth in month increments. As a married couple, we have literally never spent more than 10 months in the same state as one another. Even way less of consecutive days together.
Now we've hit a new stage. The stage of no deployments... and to be honest I don't think either of us know what to do! There are no big events upon the horizon weighing down on us. Nothing creeping up on us. No nagging thoughts of what needs to be done before this monumental deadline. What do you do in a stage of no preparation? We won't even hit the next step of preparation for another year. Which for me seems like a lifetime away.
What is day to day life like without some big change looming? This is the exact answer I have been mulling over for the past couple of weeks. I'm still not sure of the answer. But I have some ideas.
I have to imagine it's relaxing. I assume there will be more time for us to delve into things we enjoy. Obviously more time spent together. What I am sure of, is we are in for some learning!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

We are trying to slow down. Much easier said than done around here!!!
Travis has been home for almost three weeks now and we have been happily and unbearably busy! We are like kids in a candy store trying to have all the fun we can have. Add a never ending To Do list of either stuff that was put off until after homecoming or stuff that recently popped up. I will say it is much easier to handle it all with someone in my corner, always there and willing to help out. I am so wonderfully overjoyed to have my husband home to be busy with... but we need to start slowing down!
In the past three weeks we have...

Relaxed at the Pier

Celebrated three wonderful years of marriage

Made a trip to the San Diego Fair 

Celebrated my birthday!

And much much more! We haven't fallen into any sort of schedule yet nor has work or life really resumed any form of normal. We are enjoying our homecoming cocoon, but all good things must come to an end! Soon work will start back and I registered for classes today which will begin late fall. The funny thing about being busy is it seems there will be no time for work and school! Ready or not though, it is coming and coming up quickly. It has been a wonderful start to our summer but I'm ready to have our "normal" life back. Those content days you just run through your schedule.
I am so thankful for these past few weeks and very excited to see what the rest of 2012 holds. We have trips planned, school to accomplish, plans to be made, big decisions about our future to me made, holidays to be celebrated all over the country. It is going to be a busy second half of the year.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homecoming came and went and now my husband has been home for almost a week! Homecoming itself was a long day of waiting. The classic, "hurry up and wait" situation that the military often provides us. Travis woke me up bright and early with a nice conversation from him in transit across the world. I hurried up and got the house ready. Then stalled for a bit and forced myself to sit long enough to eat something. Then hurried up and took a shower. Then waited around because it wasn't quite time to get ready. Then hurried up and fixed my hair and got dressed. I got over to the battalion and waited around for the Marines to turn in their weapons and such. Finally after a long day and lots of waiting in the cold at almost midnight, they came marching out! Sharing that first hug and kiss after several long months was amazing!! It's like our first kiss all over again! I wish I could put into words what homecoming means to so many military families. It's something you can only experience if you've been there. So much good and bad anxiety is built up over deployments that homecoming just waiting for the other shoe to drop it seems. It's exciting, magical, relieving, like a big weight lifted off your shoulders, wonderful, and relaxing all at the same time.
Our first week reunited has been wonderful. My cheeks literally hurt from all the smiling and I don't think I've laughed this much in a long time. It's wonderful to be able to see my husband laugh. I truly missed that.
We are also in the midst of some serious nesting. Again like last deployment, I moved while he was deployed. So this is a new house for him and fairly new for myself too. We're having a great deal of fun making this house our home. We've done some decorating and gardening which has been exciting. Hopefully soon we will have fresh tomatoes and squash popping up in our back yard.
As if this past week hasn't had enough excitement, tomorrow we celebrate our third wedding anniversary! I can't believe we've been married three years, yet at the same time it feel more like a decade!